Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says his Manchester United counterpart Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has proved he deserves to manage a “top club”.
Solskjaer is currently only in charge at United on a caretaker basis, but has enjoyed remarkable success since replacing Jose Mourinho just before Christmas. United looked out of contention for Champions League qualification at that stage but are now fourth in the table, having won eight and drawn one of their nine Premier League games since Solskjaer was appointed. Asked what he thought of Solskjaer’s United tenure so far, Klopp told Sky Sports: “I am a manager myself and I know that we are not magicians.
“It is not like we can come in and say ‘you are not good, but I can make you really good’! But we are blessed with really good players around us and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is doing a brilliant job. It is all about bringing out the potential of the team, improving the quality, and that is what he obviously did and that makes him a manager for a top club. I didn’t know him, I met him one time – I think – last year at a training game in La Manga, where he was with the Norwegian team, and so we had a little chat. He is a nice fellow, that is for sure, and what he did so far is obviously brilliant.”
United have adopted more buccaneering tactics since Solskjaer took charge but Klopp does not think it would be wise to try and second-guess how the home team will approach Sunday’s game. “We will see how they play against us,” he said. “I think they are able to play different ways. They are much more front-footed for sure now, that is clear, but their counter attacks are a massive threat, especially when (Anthony) Martial and (Jesse) Lingard get fit again. It is not only one thing they are good at. There are a few ways where you can at least give them a few questions they don’t have easy answers for – but it will be a very physical game and very demanding for both teams.”
BRILLIANT! SOLSKJAER REVEALS PLAN AHEAD OF SECOND LEG AGAINST BARCELONA
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed his plan to defeat Barcelona in the second leg of his side’s UEFA Champions League tie with the La Liga leaders.
United were beaten by one goal to nothing in the first leg played on Wednesday.
A Luke Shaw own goal in the 12th minute was all Ernesto Valverde’s men needed to claim victory at Old Trafford.
Speaking after the game, Ole Gunnar Solskajer revealed he will be going in to the game with one thing in mind.
He said: ‘We played a good team. We know you have to defend a lot without the ball and you might be tired when you get the chance yourself.
‘We go there with one thing in my mind, we have to score.’
There is no doubt United will have to score to go through to the semi-final, but the game at the Nou Camp won’t be easy by any means.
It is expected that Barcelona will dominate the second leg, leaving United with the option of playing on the counter.
Aside playing on the counter, Solskjaer will have to rely on set-pieces in order to get a goal. This is where a player like Lukaku will be useful, given his physical presence.
It remains to be seen if Lionel Messi will be able to give a better performance after a not too inspiring first leg where he was bullied by Chris Smalling.
The United defender had prior to the game said that he was ready for the challenge against Messi, urging the little Argentine to ‘bring it on’.
Smalling showed he was ready for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner by making life very difficult for him.
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MANCHESTER UNITED BOSS NAMES THE PLAYER THAT IS ALWAYS IMPROVING HIS GAME
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has heaped praise on midfielder Scott McTominay after his performance against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League, adding that the youngster is improving in every game he plays.
The Scotsman played the entire game as United slumped to 1-0 defeat at the hands of Spanish La Liga side Barcelona on Wednesday night.
The 22-year-old won the Man of the Match award after a commanding display against the best team in the La Liga.
Speaking after the game, Solskjaer said: ‘Scott McTominay was fantastic. Every time he plays for us he is improving.
‘He’s a great athlete, wins his challenges and quick on his feet. He started settling us to be fair [after United went behind].’
McTominay has made 17 appearances for United this season, scoring once.
He is a product of United’s academy and made his Premier League debut when he came on as a substitute against Arsenal on the 7th of May, 2017.
His first Premier League start for the club was against Crystal Palace on the 21st of May, 2017.
Solskjaer will be hoping the youngster continues to improve and gives a good account of himself if he is given another chance against Barcelona in the second leg.
With the future of Ander Herrera in doubt, United may have just found an ideal replacement for the Spaniard.
If he is consistent, his youthfulness and ability to put in enormous strength will make him the darling of United supporters.
At this stage, it is important for the youngster to avoid the distractions that come from being the centre of attention and focus on giving his best in training.
He should learn from previous United youngsters who have broken into the first team and failed to maintain and improve on the work that got them to the top.
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